Siviwe Mpengesi is commonly known as Chippa in football circles, but how did the Chilli Boys chairman get the nickname?

A childhood friend Yolisa Mdingi, who grew up with the Chippa United chairman in Nqamakwe in the Eastern Cape, has revealed that the man was a super talented footballer.

“Back in the village, we would play football on Sundays. Chippa was our striker; he played number 11, but he used his right foot. He would make it a point he’s turning inside and shooting,” Mdingi told FARPost.

He believes if scouts visited Nqamakwe, he would have been snapped up by one of the top clubs.

Siviwe Mpengesi is commonly known as Chippa in football circles, but how did the Chilli Boys chairman get the nickname?

Siviwe Mpengesi

“The body he has now, we don’t know. His wedding pictures will show you that he was skinny. His head was the only big thing; he used it well to head balls,” Mdingi said.

Besides being a gifted footballer, the Chippa boss reveals how much he loved Orlando Pirates during those days.

“The nickname comes from my days as a kid growing up in the Eastern Cape, where we used to play football in the streets,” Mpengesi told FARPost.

“I was named after popular Orlando Pirates midfielder Chippa Moloi. The name stuck… and that’s what I called my football club.

In the run-up to the 2009 Confederations Cup and the first World Cup on African soil a year later, Mpengesi’s security company was awarded a tender for those two significant events, while he was also given charge of Philippi Stadium.

It was in the shadow of the euphoria of those two unforgettable tournaments that he renewed his vows to his long-lost love—football, and his dream of owning a club was ignited.

It would not be long before Chippa United was born.

The club would also be named after his childhood nickname.

“I was working there on the operational side. From my experiences, I witnessed football’s power to unite people.

“And I thought it would be great to do something for the people in the township.

“I noticed how during a game, people loved each other; they celebrated, they forgot about their misery. I was in Cape Town, and there was no team for black people.

“People used to support clubs from Gauteng and other regions. You had Ajax, Santos and Vasco Da Gama in Cape Town.

“So, I bought the franchise of Mbekweni Sundowns [SAB League] and renamed the club Chippa United after my nickname,” he explained.

The Chilli Boys went on to win the fourth tier, eventually taking on the challenge in the National First Division and winning promotion to the PSL at the first attempt.

Unfortunately, their maiden PSL campaign faltered, and they were relegated.

“We never had much time to prepare in our first PSL campaign because we contested the play-offs,” Mpengesi added.

United’s stay in the top-flight has been nothing less than colourful, with Chippa acquiring a reputation as a trigger-happy owner who never hesitates to show any underperforming coach the exit door.

Over 30 coaches have taken turns to take charge of the team since its promotion to the top-flight league a decade ago.

The latest to be shown the exit door is Daine Klate who lasted on the job for a few weeks after his promotion from the developmental team.


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